18th Century

  1. 17th century Welsh Cakes Welsh Cakes - I’ve always had a fondness for Wales. The first family holidays were amongst the lush and rolling hills and I became an avid fan of rugby through watching Wales during the glorious days of the mid-1970s. In food terms, I’m constantly frustrated by the existence of so few old books from which to draw recipes. I […]
  2. Luns Cake Sally Lunn - The Sally Lunn is a traditional enriched tea bread that hails from the West Country city of Bath. To dispel any confusion, it is not a Bath Bun, which is an enriched dough filled with fruit and peel, topped with a smattering of sugar nibs. The Sally Lunn has been likened to a British brioche, […]
  3. Hot-Pickled Herring Hot-Pickled Herring - This recipe is something of a contradiction because, despite the name, it is eaten cold. The slow poaching in a lightly flavoured vinegar neutralises the oiliness of the herring to a certain extent, and the herbs and onion make for a fine, delicate flavour. This method is also much quicker than the traditional method of […]
  4. Black Broth Black Broth - I have no idea who Mr Sparks was, but he obviously made an impression on at least one of the many ladies through whose hands one particular manuscript¹ passed, for there are no fewer than nine of his recipes included over the course of ten pages. I have been unable to find any printed cookery […]
  5. Mussel Pottage Mussel Pottage - A pottage is a thickened, substantial cross between a soup and a stew. I was drawn to this recipe by the lazy cook in me that is always looking for a simpler, easier way to achieve tasty food. When this recipe was jotted down three hundred years ago, it would have been quite hard work […]
  6. English Butter Sauce - This is the classic and multi-purpose Butter Sauce much complained-of as being, for many years, the only sauce we British had. It is perfect for spooning over new potatoes as well as a whole range of freshly-cooked vegetables, and can also be adapted to enhance numerous other dishes merely by changing the liquid and selecting […]
  7. Gooseberry Pudding Pies Fruit Pudding Pies - Mary Rooke, 1770 Pudding pies used to be immensely popular in the 18th century, and describe a particular style of dish where a pastry case is filled with a thick, flavoured and sweetened porridge and the two baked together. Obviously, you’re now saying to yourself, ‘Hang on a second, that’s a tart, not a pie’, […]
  8. Gooseberry Raised Pie Gooseberry and Elderflower Raised Pie - Traditional There’s a 200-year-old tradition in Oldbury-on-Severn of making gooseberry pies with a sweetened hot water crust pastry as part of the Whitsun celebrations. Jane Grigson mentions them in several of her writings on English food. Due to the age of the recipe, it was some time before I managed to find a picture of […]
  9. Three lemonades Old-Fashioned Lemonades - I don’t think I’ve done drinks on the blog before, but I’ve got a trio of delicious variations on lemonade, originating in the 17th century manuscript books at the Wellcome Library. They are each wonderfully thirst-quenching and will make for a delicious treat to have in the fridge. Mrs Yorke’s Lemonade – the best that […]
  10. 17thC English French Bread 18thC English French Bread - Bread is a curious topic to go a-hunting in the recipe archives because there are relatively so few recipes. Considering how central it was for such a large part of the population, the proportion of recorded recipes is surprisingly low. The reason for this might be similar to that often cited as being behind Marco […]
  11. Hard Sauce - 100g unsalted butter – softened 150g caster sugar 120ml cream sherry, or any favourite alcohol Whisk the softened butter until extremely light and fluffy. This is easiest with a stand mixer and paddle attachment, but electric mixer is fine. Add the caster sugar and continue whisking until even paler and fluffier. Gradually add the sherry […]
  12. Sugarless Biscuits, 1767 Sugarless Biscuits - I don’t mean to boast (which means I’m going to), but I’m very pleased with this recipe, which I found in a book from 1767 entitled “Primitive cookery; or the kitchen garden display’d”. In the curious attribution style of the day, the frontispiece declares the book “Printed for J.Williams at No. 38, Fleet Street”, which […]
  13. Orange Blossom Tart Orange Blossom Tart - Here’s a wonderfully aromatic and delicious dessert that I have adapted from a recipe that appears in Hannah Glasse’s “The art of cookery, made plain and easy”. It must have been popular, because Hannah gives no fewer than four recipes for Orange Pudding, each slightly different. Copyright infringement back then being rife, it is highly […]
  14. Mincemeat Fat-free Mincemeat - This recipe is adapted from Hannah Glasse’s 1747 recipe for Mince Pies for Lent. Nowadays, we traditionally make mincemeat far in advance of the festive season, so that it can mature in flavour. Both the sugar and the suet act as preservative and so when Christmas rolls around, you’ve got a jar of deliciously spicy […]
  15. Muffins Muffins - Bread muffins are quintessentially and traditionally British and have a very particular appearance – golden brown on their flat tops and bottoms, with a broad band of pale softness around the middle.  Recipes can be found at least as far as the mid 18th century, but there seems to be a lack of anything older. […]